by Debra on October 24, 2012

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Musical pairing – So Small by Carrie Underwood

My oldest son and his family moved to Indiana last month; the last year without Alice has been difficult and everyone felt they needed a new start – new job, new home, new beginning, moving forward. So they packed up their house in New Hampshire, along with Alice’s brother, Doug, 3 Labrador dogs and hit the road heading West to Indiana.

None of us have navigated these waters before – of moving forward without the physical presence of someone lost so young – someone who made you laugh, someone who could be vexing on her worst days and someone who also had everyone wrapped around her little finger. But we are all moving forward . . . together.

Sunday suppers are becoming a tradition around our table – pot roast, meat balls, sauce and breadsticks, pizza and smoked brisket. The music is cranked, glasses of gluten-free beer and/or wine are poured and everyone is given a task: chopping mise en place, pulling together a dessert, setting the table, lighting candles or creating a salad – our little family in a small space, orchestrating movements as if we are pair-skaters, gliding on ice, moving about in circles from one task to the next.

Cell phones are silenced and left in another room; salad, main course and some sort of bread is passed from one person to the next, each filling his or her plate . . . and we eat . . . and we talk . . . and we eat a bit more . . . and we talk. Sometimes it’s about what happened in our week, sometimes it’s about something the dogs did or it might be about some event that is coming up – a trip, a holiday, a birthday celebration – but the conversation eventually leads to Alice and the memories we have of her.

It makes me smile, it makes me laugh, it makes me remember – and it keeps the essence of Alice alive – death, or the absence of her physical body will never take that from us . . . as long as we continue to talk about her, write about her and simply share her life.

I’m grateful for these Sundays – life is incredibly busy these days and we are juggling a lot; having Sunday suppers forces us to slow down, to think about a menu, to plan what each family member can do to participate in the meal and most importantly, to be able to sit at a table and share life, talk, connect.

We’ve already experienced our first freeze and as I gaze out my windows, I see miles of deep burgundy, bright yellow and shocking orange as the leaves give up their last hold on summer. I look forward to the changing of each season and I always seems to find myself saying, ‘This is my favorite time of year!’ And in that moment it is.

October 27th is the first anniversary of Alice’s passing; I know my family would appreciate any good thoughts and prayers you can send our way. We all miss her terribly – I think we always will.  And that’s okay.